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The Tobacco Run: Cheap Tobacco/Cigarettes

Time: 06:30hrs

Date: 07/02/2009

Place: London

Mission: To stop the British Government ripping me off!

This is the Tobacco Run

The Target

The Target

For those of you that know of the Tobacco Run its a god send, For those that don’t read on

What is the Tobacco Run? The Tobacco Run is a day trip to a town called Adinkerke in Belgium.

What does it involve? It involves getting a coach to Adinkerke Via a ferry to Calais France.

Why? Cheap Tobacco, Cigarettes, Wine, Beer, Chocolates, etc……..

The Story:

I am a smoker, regretfully I smoke quite a lot, I will stop sometime but at the moment I am still a smoker.

I smoke Golden Virginia Tobacco which costs in the UK at the moment just under £13.00 (im not too sure coz I wont buy it) for a 50gm pouch.

The same 50gm pouch of Golden Virginia in Adinkerke costs £4.50, thats just over a third of what it costs in the UK.

Why such a price difference you may ask, Its because the British Government has decided to lump all us smokers with an unreasonable amount of Tax/duty on our nicotine products.

Now, fair enough, I understand that we have to pay tax/duty on our stuff (I understand it but don’t agree with it), What I don’t understand is how a product that is made in the UK sell for a third of the price (tax/duty included) in a different country than it can in its country of origin!

So I decided to save myself a few quid (approx £1040 per year) and go on the Tobacco Run.

First  I had to Google a few key words before I found a company close enough for me to get to a pick up point (this truly was the hardest part of the whole mission)

I finally came across a coach company called Excalibur who offer shoping day trips along with other reasonably priced excursions.

I gave them a quick ring and booked my spot on the Calais shopping trip for the coming Saturday morning, £30 is all this trip would cost me, now im not a wealthy man but £30 was a bargain when you think that you could do a months shopping (food, consumables, etc…) on this trip and save yourself £100s, I bought 28 bottles of wine at £1.20 each which costs in the UK £3.99 each, so if I took my £30 coach fair out of the savings I made with this buy alone it would still be a saving of £36, Im not an accountant or anything but it makes sense to me! I know that these trips are a money savers dream!

Before my trip I did my homework to find out what I could and could not bring back and I found this in  on a Heathrow Airport website:

Duty Free Allowance / Tax Free Allowance

When travelling from the EU to the UK you do not have to pay any tax or duty on goods you have bought in another EU country as long as tax was included in the price when you purchased the items, the items are for your own use, and have been transported to the UK by you. This includes gifts, but does not include any item that is intended to be used as payment or to be resold.

If you bring back large quantities of alcohol or tobacco, a Customs Officer is more likely to ask about the purposes for which you hold the goods. This will most likely be the case if you appear at the airport with more than:

  • 3200 cigarettes
  • 400 cigarillos
  • 200 cigars
  • 3 kg of smoking tobacco
  • 110 litres of beer
  • 10 litres of spirits
  • 90 litres of wine
  • 20 litres of fortified wine e.g. port or sherry

Needless to say I had to raid my savings once I saw this, One point to make here: I thought it was one or the other (e.g Tobacco or Cigarettes)  but its not, You can actually purchase the amount of everything stated e.g 3kg (60 pouch’s) of Tobacco AND 3200 (16×200) Cigarettes! which is great for me as I am an everyday Tobacco smoker but always have a 20 box of B&H on me for smoking when on the move or busy (when I don’t have time to roll).

I read that Its also advisable to bring sterling cash (for Adinkerke) but as the exchange rate is practically even at the moment, having sterling cash didnt make a difference.

06:30hrs Saturday: I wait at  my pick up point for the coach, It arrives about 06:45, I hop on say hello all and pick my seat for the trip.

After a few more pick ups the coach heads for Dover, I quite surprised and impressed by Excalibur coachs as it was air conditioned, had a toilet, very very comfortable and even had a TV! it was also full of friendly and helpful people.

at Dover we borded the ferry for the 09:25 crossing, had breakfast, arsed around a lot and got some duty free (only aftershave). NB: Tobacco in the duty free is set at the same price it is in france which was approx £78 for 500gm (10x50gm) of GV, even though this is just over half the price you would pay in the UK it is no where close to the price (£45 for 500gm/10x50gm) you would pay in Adinkerke.

The crossing took a little over an hour and once we exited the boat we where on our way.

10mins later we pulled into a sort of shopping warehouse in Calais, we where given half an hour (more than enough time) to have a stroll around and get some cheap Wine, Beer, Consumibles ……etc  you could do your monthly shopping here with ease.

We then headed to Cite Europe which is a great big fuck off shopping centre which has everything you can think in there including H&M, Zara, ToysRus, etc…… but is a lot cheaper than in the UK

You get about 4hrs to shop around there or you can stay on the coach and head for Adinkerke which I did!

About 45mins later we reached Adinkerke which is a town just over the French border into Belgium, we got about 1hr 30 mins to have a stroll around Adinkerke.

Now Adinkerke is not a big town, I would call it a small village I saw probably 15 shops in Adinkerke and 13 of them where Tobacco shops!

So down to business! There was no point in going to all the shop’s as the price difference between the was nothing if anything so I popped into The Real Tobacco Pub which is a smallish pub with ajoining tobacco shop, I picked up a current price list (which I didnt need but was just been nosey) and started to scan the price’s, you could also buy chocolates (Belgiums finest) and drink here all discounted compared to the UK. Current price lists can be found here

So I got my 60 pouch’s of Golden Virginia for a grand total of £270 (which is nothing compared to UK) they gave me a token which I then exchanged for a drink at the bar, after about half an hour and a big grin on my face I decided to get some chocolates so I strolled about 2mins down the road and found  P & J which is a chocolate factory as well as a tobacco shop, I stocked up on a years supply of chocolate and made my way back to the coach.

From Adinkerke we headed back to Calais stopping at a Wine&Beer warehouse along the way where you can get named brands at a third of the price!

We then pick up any shoppers at Cite Europe and headed for the Ferry.

All in all we had about 6hrs in France and Belgium and I got dropped off at my pick up point at about 20:45hrs.

Moral of the story: For the sake of £30 and a Saturday I had saved myself in the region of £700 and that was only on tobacco, drink and chocolates!

Imagine what you could save doing your grocery, cloths or toy shopping!!!!!

My suggestion: Get off your arse, book a shopping day trip with Excalibur and start saving some money!!!!


February 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 49 Comments